Wells to take over as Newcastle head coach

Aviva Premiership rugby club Newcastle Falcons have announced that John Wells will step up to the role of head coach for the 2014-15 Premiership season.

While Wells takes a step up to head coach former Newcastle and England international fly-half Dave Walder has been appointed as attack coach.

The duo will work under director of rugby Dean Richards, who will also retain the services of defence coach Graham Steadman, scrum coach Micky Ward and skills coach Calum MacRae as the club gears up for its second successive year in the Aviva Premiership.

Former England forwards coach Wells, 51, joined the Falcons in February 2012 and played an integral role in helping the club win promotion back to the Premiership last year.

Guiding Leicester to the Premiership final and a place in the Heineken Cup semi-finals during his first season as head coach at Welford Road in 2005, Wells underlined his growing reputation in the game.

Appointed England forwards coach a year later, Wells was part of the set-up that reached the 2007 Rugby World Cup final in France and won the 2011 Six Nations Championship.

“In the last two seasons Dean and Peter have done a tremendous job of getting Newcastle out of the RFU Championship and ensuring the club secures its Aviva Premiership status,” said Wells.

He added: “Dave has also come on board and he brings new ideas and a real passion for the club. He complements the strengths of the existing coaching team, and together with the experience the squad has gained this season, allied to some quality signings, we intend to be extremely competitive next term.”

Meanwhile 36-year-old Walder joins the club on a permanent basis after a part-time role as kicking coach. Spending seven seasons and amassing well over 100 appearances for Newcastle as a player in which time he scored the winning try in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final against Harlequins as well as lifting the 2004 Powergen Cup, Walder is relishing the challenge that lies ahead on Tyneside.

“I’m really excited at the prospect of working with Dean Richards and John Wells at a club I’m extremely passionate about,” said Walder, who has four England caps to his name.

“It’s great to be back in the North East, an area I love, and I can’t wait to get stuck into pre-season,” he added.

Newcastle director of rugby Richards said: “I’m delighted to have confirmed the coaching team for next season, and after a tough first season back in the Aviva Premiership everyone is ready to take this club to the next level with this group of players.”

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